ECUADOR: A Better Shelter base camp ensures income for workers

In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic shocked the world. In Ecuador in Latin America, hundreds of businesses closed as a result, thousands of people have died and millions have lost their jobs.

To keep their farmers’ business going, the fruit processing company Agroapoyo in Ecuador’s capital Quito, had to try something new.

Agroapoyo sources organically grown fruit from communities and farmers in Ecuador, and support small businesses by turning plantain, cassava, mangoes, goldenberries and pineapples into organic snacks and exporting it to other countries. Misshaped fruit that cannot be processed is donated to a local food bank. 

Being on the equator means that the farmers can harvest 52 weeks per year. Fruit that is not harvested is however lost, and the farmers and their families depend on a steady income. 

Agroapoyo was keen to maintain their employees’ jobs during the pandemic, and thereby continue contributing to stimulate the country’s economy through the production chain of small producers in vulnerable areas.

They had to come up with a solution that would keep their team healthy, and decided to build a base camp near the plant using Better Shelters. Here, the Agropoyo team can live and work for two weeks consecutively, and then return home for 15 days to rest and be with their families. Before returning to the plant again, they need to take a covid test.

“We were hesitant in the beginning since we thought maybe Covid-19 would end quite quickly, but seeing where we are a year later, we are pleased that we went ahead with this project.”, says Edgar Narvaez, Founder, Agropapoyo

Agroapoyo ordered 17 Better Shelter units which were set up at the end of 2020 and in early 2021.

The 15/15 schedule has proven successful and Agroapoyo has had no cases of Covid-19 among their workers. 

“It has been quite a new and challenging experience, as we are not experts in health, or in lodgings, nor logistical management … And yet we find ourselves learning every day how to handle the situation so that this circle continues to spin, and we can contribute with what we know best, which is to make food.”, says Edgar Narvaez.

“I am a Kichwa farmer that works with a community of women who depend on the daily harvest to support our families, thanks to Agroapoyo we didn’t stop during the pandemic and they guaranteed our incomes.”, says, Himelda, fruit farmer.

“Innovation is seeing opportunities and finding answers where others have not seen them before. And that’s what we do and will continue to do because it is in our DNA. Agroapoyo will always continue to innovate responsibly for a better Ecuador.”, says Edgar Narvaez.

Impact

  • Continued income for employees and farmers despite covid-19
  • Maintained health of employees during the pandemic
  • Continued stimulation of small communities’ business and of the local economy during a financially very difficult year.